Saratoga CA Real Estate Market Update

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California - photo for article on the Saratoga CA real estate market

Orchard and Hills in Saratoga, California

The Saratoga CA real estate market is a strengthening sellers’ market for single family homes :

  • the average sale price rose both monthly and annually
  • inventory of Saratoga houses for sale is up both month over month and year over year
  • the sale to list price ratio slipped from 106.8% in March to 106.3% in April, still a strong seller’s market

How’s the Saratoga CA real estate market?

Saratoga has a diverse real estate market due to a wide range of home prices, square footage, lot sizes, school districts, and more. The luxury tier, generally $4 million and up (but in Saratoga, that’s really still just a house in an expensive part of town) normally moves slower than other price points. Saratoga’s entry level housing is usually the strongest. If the numbers swing wildly at any given month, it could be that more or fewer homes in a particular school district and pricing tier.

To really understand the Saratoga CA real estate market, you’ll need to get hyper local data for that home’s pricing tier, school district, and any other impactful data points.

 

Trends at a Glance for the Saratoga CA Real Estate Market

Here’s a quick overview from the RE Report details below or please view the full data here.

Trends At a GlanceApr 2024Previous MonthYear-over-Year
Median Price$4,215,000 (+0.4%)$4,200,000$3,780,000 (+11.5%)
Average Price$4,533,660 (+5.4%)$4,299,500$4,008,360 (+13.1%)
No. of Sales18 (-14.3%)2122 (-18.2%)
Pending22 (+69.2%)1319 (+15.8%)
Active35 (+66.7%)2125 (+40.0%)
Sale vs. List Price106.3% (-0.5%)106.8%98.7% (+7.6%)
Days on Market29 (+24.8%)2351 (-43.5%)
Days of Inventory56 (+88.0%)3033 (+71.1%)

 

Altos Research real estate market data for Saratoga, CA single family homes

Next, a quick glance at the Altos Research market profile for a quick summary of the Saratoga CA real estate market conditions. Altos uses LIST prices, not sold prices, for this chart and the others, below.

Market profile for Saratoga CA 95070

 

Real-Time Market Profile Saratoga, CA 95070

 

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Updating the Campbell Real Estate Market

Tudor style house on graphic that says - How's the Campbell real estate market?How is the Campbell real estate market? Campbell is in a strong seller’s market that continues to outstrip this time last year. This article, updated monthly, offers data and analysis on the residential real estate market within this popular Silicon Valley community. Here are a few details from the latest update on Campbell’s single family housing market:

  • Inventory is growing inch by inch with 15 active listings at the end of April, still just a drop in the bucket! Smaller pools of data can cause more dramatic swings in these statistics, so take these numbers with a grain of salt.
  • The average sales to list price ratio for homes sold last month slipped to 110.2% of asking – that’s red hot, and up +4.8% from this time last year.
  • Average and median sales prices are up +23.4% and +35.5% from last year respectively, and rose +12.3% and 22.0% from the month before.
  • Average time on market slowed to just 12 days while market absorption sped to a slightly shorter 24 days.
  • Closed and pending sales continued to rise above last month and last year despite lower available inventory year-over-year.

The market in this popular west valley city is red hot overall!

The Campbell, CA Real Estate Market

It’s hard to predict what’s coming next, especially since Silicon Valley real estate is connected to the global economy and many buyers rely on stocks and mortgage loans to finance their purchase. On top of that, we’re emerging from an already wild few years!

If you’re selling a well prepared, beautifully staged, and aggressively priced house, you’ll likely see multiple offers on your home for sale. We’ve been seeing more bidding wars, but not with overbids quite as high as last spring. Competition for homes has undoubtebly waned from it’s peak as buyers financial power shrank with rising interest rates. That said, with even fewer homes being listed this year there’s still far more demand than there is inventory, especially for a move-in ready home!

Desperate and worn out buyers want to get their foot in the door before they are priced out of the market altogether by either climbing interest rates or rising home prices.

Don’t expect a balanced market any time soon – the Bay Area still has a severe housing shortage and buyers are clamoring to get property!

Here’s a quick view of the Campbell real estate market stats from Altos Research, using list prices (not sales price) which updates automatically about once per week:

 

Campbell Altos Real-Time Market Profile

The Altos chart is showing Campbell, CA single family homes in a strong seller’s market with continued rises in market action paired with perpetually low inventory. Available listings remain well below typical, and these few homes continue to sell quickly.

And now –  here are some quick stats, pulled from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) through the RE Report:

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Merrivale West San Jose Neighborhood & Homes for Sale

Merrivale West sign in West San Jose CA 95117Merrivale West is a very popular community of 248 townhouses, built by Ditz-Crane in beginning in 1972, in the “West San Jose” area offering beautiful grounds & homes as well as a fantastic commute location and low HOA dues (homeowner association fees).

 

Where is Merrivale West?

 

This complex is found near the intersection of San Tomas Expressway and Payne Avenue in the 95117 area of San Jose. The main road running through the neighborhood is Millich, but there are a number of smaller streets with the designation of “square” too (Merrivale Square, for instance). From this location, it’s a quick jaunt to Santana Row (just 2 miles!) or to downtown Campbell. It’s easy freeway access too. The location is one of the main reasons for the popularity of this area.

 

What does it cost to buy a townhouse in Merrivale West?

Homes vary in size and precise location as well as interior condition. Most properties are selling from about $900,000 to $1.15 million, as of Jan 2024. There have been sales more than 1.1 million and almost to 1.2 million at the peak of the market in Spring 2022, but prices have come down here as well as everywhere else in the valley since that time.

Larger homes, such as the 1368 sf model (2 bed/2.5 bath) generally sell at the higher end of the price spectrum. Overall, though, selection tends to be slim: homes here sell fast, about 7 – 10 days most of the time, and the perpetual desirability of the neighborhood helps to keep values up.

 

Merrivale West townhomes
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When a parent, spouse or loved one dies – what do you need to know or do about the house?

Death and Real Estate - Dealing with a Property after A Loved One DiesWhen a parent, spouse or loved one dies and he or she owned a home, there’s a lot for the survivors to do in addition to the very real and painful process of mourning. I have been through this with my own parents (and their house in Saratoga), a great aunt in Willow Glen, and many clients in San Jose, Los Gatos, Palo Alto, and elsewhere in Silicon Valley.

Quick summary of what to do regarding the home first and soon when a loved one dies:

  1. Engage the help of of an attorney and tax professional within the first 30 days or so. Sometimes there are deadlines or goal dates that will help the beneficiaries, and if people take too long to connect with these professionals, some opportunities may close.
  2. Some attorneys are also tax professionals, but most likely these will be different people.
  3. A professional valuation of the home will be needed, usually done by a licensed appraiser, but sometimes a real estate professional can do a market analysis that is acceptable. The home does not have to be empty or cleaned out to have this done.
  4. If you need the names of good tax and legal professionals, feel free to reach out to your real estate agent (or to me, if you are local). Most of us have worked with trust situations and can provide names. Or ask friends and family who’ve recently gone through the same situation and were happy with the people that they hired.
  5. You will need several copies of the certified death certificate. Discuss how many with your tax and legal professional. If you sell or transfer the home, the title company will need it and it will be recorded with the county.

Death, dying, & real estate: where to begin when a loved one dies?

In terms of settling the estate, it is wise to first speak with an attorney and tax professional about the property to find out what is required and advisable.

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What Is the Difference Between CID Ownership in a Condo, Townhouse or PUD?

Could this be a condo? Or a PUD? Or neither?There’s quite a bit of confusion around the difference between common interest developments (CID) , condominiums, and planned unit developments (PUD). What do these labels mean, and how does anyone know which one is which? Where do townhomes fall in this list? And more importantly, why do they matter?

CID, PUD, and Condo: Ownerships Explained

Part of the confusion stems from the fact that there are two things to consider: the architecture of the buildings and the type of ownership.

  1. What is a condominium or condo?  A condominium is a type of ownership of the real estate, not an architectural style.  Condo ownership means that the purchaser has 100% rights to the unit and a percentage of ownership in the common lands (fractional ownership in common areas). Buyers of a condo are buying the space between the walls (and a fraction of ownership elsewhere).
    • Condos can architecturally be a unit that resembles an apartment (what we colloquially refer to as a condo), a townhouse, or even a house.
  2. What is a townhouse (or townhome)?  A townhouse is a type of building or architectural style, not the type of ownership involved. A townhouse could be a planned unit development (PUD) or it could be a condominium.
    • Townhouses are often 2 stories and attached on at least one side, but they don’t have to be. They could be one story and they could be detached.
    • A townhouse that’s a condo can look exactly the same as a townhouse that’s a PUD.
  3. What is a PUD?  A planned unit development is architecturally either a townhouse or a house in which 100% of the unit plus the land under it is owned and the ownership of the unit also provides for a membership in the homeowner’s association or HOA.  The HOA in turn owns all the common elements (such as private roads and amenities such as a pool, tennis court, parking lots, etc.). With a PUD, homeowners have an easement and rights to use the common area through their HOA membership.
  4. What is a CID?  A common interest development, or CID, is a general term meaning the ownership of property in which there are “common areas” such as private roads, a pool, parking, tennis courts, utility rooms etc. These could be condo complexes or home owners associations with houses, townhouses, or other types of homes.

Local examples: In Los Gatos we have some freestanding houses (or properties with the only common wall being at the garage) which are in condo ownership on Ohlone Court.  Same with the beautiful Villas of Almaden community. Both have “common areas” and mandatory membership in the home owner’s association.

 

 

How can you tell if the townhouse is in a PUD or Condo CID?

Sometimes the info is right in a property profile, which is very easy for most real estate agents to obtain through their preferred title company.  More often, though, to be certain of the ownership type it’s necessary to review the preliminary title report.

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Does the exterior of a townhouse need to be inspected?

Does the exterior of a townhouse need to be inspected? View of townhomes in west Los Gatos.Does the exterior of a townhouse need to be inspected? If you are in the market to purchase a townhome, you may find that often the home and pest inspector are not including the outside areas such as the walls, foundation, or roof.

If you are preparing to sell your unit, you may be asked if you want to include or exclude the outer walls and features, or if you want a roof inspection done.

First, let’s consider why the inspectors may only inspect the interior of the home.

The reasoning frequently seems to be that the HOA will take care of whatever is on the outer walls or roof, so why bother? That assumption may or may not be accurate.

  • If the townhouse is held in condo ownership (as opposed to a PUD, in which homeowners own the outside walls, roof and the land under the unit), the HOA likely will take care of exterior damage.
  • If the townhome is a Planned Unit Development, or PUD, it’s much like a single family home: the homeowner will be responsible for repairs. (HOAs will repaint and reroof all units at the same time for both PUDs and condos, but not fix damaged siding, decks, roofs. It’s imperative to know which one you are buying, and you’ll only know that from  the preliminary title report. It’s also imperative to know what the HOA will do regarding repairs, and for that you’ll need to look through the lengthy HOA documents.)

Another consideration is the price of the inspection, which will be less – in most cases – if only the interior of the home is covered by the inspector.

Does the exterior of a townhouse need to be inspected even if it’s a condo?

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Why do real estate agents do a visual inspection of the properties they sell?

What is the agent visual inspection, or AVID, and why is it required with home sales in California?

The short answer on the purpose of the AVID

When real estate sales people represent buyers and sellers on residential real estate transactions in CA, they must do a visual inspection of the property as part of their disclosure obligations. In other words, they are required to walk through the property, inside and out, and look carefully at what they sell and advise the parties to the contract of any red flags noticed.

This is required by the state. It is not optional.

If an attentive Realtor walks through and notes something that would make a buyer unhappy to discover after close of escrow, that agent needs to note it on the required form so that any such concerns are disclosed to the home buyer(s).

Video discussing the AVID, or Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure

 

Where do the agents write up their visual inspection disclosure comments?

 

Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure, top of page 1

Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure, top of page 1

 

Sometimes the real estate licensees will simply make a few comments on page 3 of the Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS).  More and more, though, they are completing the separate 3 page AVID (Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure) form instead.  It is larger and allows for more thorough list of items noted. Both approaches are permitted by law to fulfill that obligation, though.

 

Why is the AVID required?

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Campbell’s most affordable homes for sale

Campbell's most affordable homes - image of a house with the words Home Sweet HomeHunting for more Campbell’s most affordable homes for sale? It can be argued that nothing is either inexpensive or affordable, however we want to consider the Campbell real estate options relative to other Silicon Valley communities and their prices. There are always higher and lower priced properties.

Campbell’s most affordable homes: beware the price mirage

Sometimes the lowest listing price of a home on the market is not actually going to be the lowest selling price. It could just be bait. Some sellers and their listing agents vastly underprice  houses, townhouses, and condos on the market in order to get an avalanche of offers. I refer to that as a price mirage – it looks good but isn’t real.

Don’t be fooled be an artificially low list price. Often a quick check of the property on Realtor.com can provide some decent pricing input. The pages for listings usually include a RealEstimate section that features up to 3 auto comp values. These automatic valuations aren’t foolproof, but if a house is listed for $900,000 and the Realtor.com page suggests a value of $1.6 to $1.8, you are put on notice that it may be grossly underpriced.  You can check the other large portals, too, as a reality check on values.

Elements that create opportunity to get more home for your money

Every city, town, and community has more and less affordable pockets and properties. Campbell’s most affordable homes for sale may have one of these elements at play.

The pricing variation often has to do with a few major areas:
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1252 Chiapas Terrace, San Jose, CA 95126

1252 Chiapas Terrace, San Jose, CA 95126 PENDING in 7 days with 5 offers!

We are delighted to present our newest listing, 1252 Chiapas Terrace, San Jose CA 95126. This young townhome provides 2 bedrooms plus den, 2 .5 bathrooms, and an open layout with 1667 square feet. It’s full over luxury upgrades, all the features that today’s buyers want, and it’s situated in the gorgeous Altura neighborhood near Santa Clara University. The list price is $989,500.

1252 Chiapas Terrace, San Jose CA 95126 - luxurious kitchen and big breakfast bar

The Quick Look at 1252 Chiapas Terrace, San Jose:

  • Altura townhome community built in 2006 by Pulte Homes
  • 2 spacious bedrooms plus den with 2 ensuite full baths, and a powder room on the main floor
  • Main floor fully open with spacious kitchen featuring stainless steel appliances, gas range with 5 burner stove, granite counters, wood cabinetry and wide breakfast bar with pendant lights above
  • Washer, dryer, and Fridge all stay
  • Attached 2 car garage with side-by-side parking
  • Central air conditioning
  • Dual pane windows by Milgard
  • High ceilings, recessed lights, plantation shutters, water softener and so many extras – see the full list at the virtual tour!
  • MLS #ML81917776

 

1252 Chiapas Terrace, San Jose virtual tour and 3D walkthrough

Please visit the virtual tour: 1252ChiapasTerrace.com for the virtual tour with all photos, a 3D iGuide walk through, and under “details” you’ll find a printable PDF with the floorplan and room measurements, too.

Open house this weekend

We will be hosting an open house this weekend,  Sat Feb 4 and Sun Feb 5, from 2 – 4 pm. Please stop by! (Park on Campbell Avenue or at the back of the complex along De Altura Commons.) These homes are very popular, so if you cannot make the open house, please arrange for your buyer’s agent to show you the home soon. It’s very easy for your Realtor to make the appointment with our simple online scheduling system. If you need a buyer’s agent and do not have one, please reach out to me and we can connect you with a Realtor who can show this home to you and represent you should you decide to write an offer.

 

Front door and porch at 1252 Chiapas Terrace, San Jose CA 95126

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Buying a townhome

Buying a townhome - consider the grounds! Photo of townhomes in west San Jose - Cabernet Vineyards Circle, San Jose CA 95117 Front of home & walkwayBuying a townhome in the next year? Here are some pointers to help you get up to speed more quickly.

There are a number of things to ask about and learn to make sure that you are happy with the end result of your townhouse or townhome purchase. There’s tremendous variation in townhomes across Silicon Valley, how well the property is managed, how well the finances are managed, how happy the residents are, and so on.

I’ll put my tips into 3 categories: (1) before you go, (2) things to consider while there, and (3) research if you are serious about a particular property.

  1. Before you go – there may be things that will take the property off of your short list, such as the property condition, HOA finances or rules. There may be natural or environmental hazards that cause you to skip it. Usually these can be learned before you ever visit the property, and they can save you a lot of time.
  2. Things to note or consider while there – some tips on what to perceive while in and near the property.
  3. Deeper research if you are serious about buying a townhome or townhouse

Buying a townhome: a little pre-visit recon

Your real estate agent may help you with this – I do with my buyers and we can sometimes eliminate non-starters with a little research. Most people interested in buying a townhome or condo will check these out upfront:

  • Maps: Take a look at Google maps and see what can be learned from Google street view and the satellite image, if possible. Street view may provide info on how crowded a complex is and if there’s a parking problem if the townhomes are directly on public streets.
    • Sometimes there are undesirable buildings or structures right next to the complex you’re planning to visit which may be visible from either the satellite or street view. The negatives usually don’t make their way into the MLS photos, so look at these other views to get a more complete sense of the area. Recently I saw a power sub-station directly next to a unit my client wanted to see. We did visit it anyway, but many home buyers would have skipped it. You can often identify high voltage power lines from the maps, too.
    • The Google Satellite View will alert you to undesirable neighbors. Recently we saw a unit that backed up to something odd looking – turned out to be a gas station.
  • Odors: If you are buying a townhome in South County or in an area where farming takes place, be sure to zoom out on the map view to see if the property might be impacted by farm smells. In Gilroy, San Martin, and Morgan Hill, mushroom farms can be smelly if you are downwind. And…garlic happens. In Milpitas and North Valley, there are a number of odors, particularly as you get closer to the bay.
  • Natural and environmental hazards: you can find out upfront if the property is in a 100 year floodplain, liquefaction zone, near gas transmission lines or near a Superfund site. There are links to maps for almost every kind of hazard out there.  For example, the Cal OES My Cal Hazards Awareness site can provide info on liquefaction, flood, quake, and fire zones.
  • Disclosures: you may be able to get them upfront and skim for the local hazards, expensive repairs needed, etc. Most of the time we can provide these before you see the home. Keep in mind that no condo, townhouse, or house is perfect, and most do need thousands of dollars in repairs, replacements, and upgrades. A good rule of thumb is to budget 1% for a condominium or townhouse.

In person visit – when you visit the townhome

Again, your Realtor should help you to see what’s amiss or what’s a big plus as you go through the grounds and the home. No home is ever perfect (not even new construction), but it’s imperative that buying a townhome you have as full knowledge as possible about it upfront.

Once in awhile, a buyer will not get the value of this input. The majority of buyers, though, appreciate it if their buyer’s agent makes sure they see things upfront, while there together. (more…)